Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I love my Cebuana nieces and am so happy to see them for the holidays :) I love both Anica and Justine, but little three-year-old Nessie has somehow become the star of the three sisters. That girl talks with music in her voice, a tilt to her head and a twinkle in her eyes!

My pantry is now full of danggit, dilis, pusit and mangga c/o the Sarmientos. Feel only a tinge of guilt that I did not partake of the freshly-roasted lechon they brought, but I was honestly STILL FULL from all the food from yesterday's Pampanga day trip -- sisig barbecue, manggang hilaw, dirty ice cream, halo-halo and the upak dinner at Binondo.

If I plan to start the new year with a positive feeling, I should go on a 2-day starvation diet and lose the bulging tummy. I felt fit enough when I ran today (and played tug-of-war in the garden!), but hate the look of my bulging tummy... So not hawt.

I need to look better to feel better about myself, then maybe I will have the confidence to know my worth, make changes and stick with my resolutions.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Blame It On The Candied Carrots

I should be proud of myself, of how I pulled off Christmas.

Between mommy and their grandmothers and aunts and uncles, the kids pretty much got everything they wanted. Santa also managed to make a very decent showing this year, with lots of candy to spare and share.

We had noche buena with my (orphan) friends and their dogs, and guess what, we probably had more fun than most. We heard Xmas Mass in the am, visited the crypt briefly, spent the afternoon and evening at Dasma. Micheal made a showing, with a beer in his hand. Too funny. The girls always have fun together anyway, so it was a nice night with good food (steak, lechon, turkey!).

I thought I had it all together, but it was the candied carrots that did me in. As I got myself a serving, Raquel quietly said "menos na ang mga kalaban dyan"... and I instantly knew exactly what she meant. How startling to be reminded by Raquel.

I smiled while my heart sank, remembering how he used to "fight" over the candied carrots with John, then asking me to make some for him at home, for him alone. I didn't realize until that moment how tired I was of 'keeping it together' and, as soon as dinner was over and I could disappear without mom noticing, I went upstairs to lay down and rest my aching chest.

The sadness lingered all through the night and I couldn't wait to get home to douse that pain with a shot of mandarin absolut. I am sufficiently doused now, and not proud to admit that I'm glad Xmas is over.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Enzo at 10

Enzo, my crazy, sensitive, funny little boy has turned 10. I continued his Dad's family tradition and spanked him 10 times, plus a hard 11th to make him grow. Yes, my petite Enzo may not be growing as fast as his brothers are, but he sure is "growing up" more than most kids his age!

Because of all of his questions, I end up talking about so many adult things, but I need to remember that I do not want to encourage my kids to think/worry about adult concerns like money and business. Not quite yet.

Yet, you cannot deny that this boy is money-minded. He has 11,000 already saved up in the bank, and he has started insisting that I move his money to a time deposit so he can get more interest. Can you believe that... And now that he received some birthday cash, and an advanced xmas gift from Mamita, he will definitely surpass his end-of-the-school-year goal of 13,000.

Mamita said today, "You're just like your Dad! How he liked to save his money!" and his face just beamed. I like how kilig the boys get when they are compared to their Dad in any small way... These are the ways they will continue to identify with Cyril even if he is no longer around.

Happy birthday, Enzo, love you!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Letter To Max, as published 12/08, Smart Parenting

Letter to Max, to be read before he proposes to the woman he loves.

I can’t believe my baby is all grown-up! And in love too!

Today as I write this, you are only seven years old. You are a joyful and naughty boy, and you like to draw and paint. It isn’t difficult to take care of you because you take a bath, dress yourself and eat a proper meal without being forced to. You love to laugh, and how you like to sleep…This you got from your Lolo Vic, your Old Man and teasing partner.

You are tall for your age and skinny like me, but so handsome like your Dad. Everyone predicts that you will be the heartbreaker because you have such a charming smile. You are naturally affectionate and love to get a hug and kiss from Mommy.

I can’t help but think that if he were here, your Dad would be so proud to see you talking so maturely about loving someone enough to marry her and commit yourself for life. He would be so proud to see his little boy understand the real responsibilities of marriage. He would so proud to know that you, Max, have grown up well.

I worry that through the years, I have not be able to be both father and mother to you, and that you would grow up at a disadvantage. It is my wish that good people have come into your life to fill the void that you Dad left behind.

I hope that I have been a confidant to you. I wish very much that when you started seeing Her, then getting serious about Her, I was someone you turned to for advice about love and how to know when it was the real thing.

And when you finally exchange vows with Her, in front of God, family, friends and peers, I want to be secure in the knowledge that you HAVE found your true love and place in life.

You worshiped your Dad, you know. From the time you could walk, you followed him around, sat with him, tried to get his attention always. When you were older, you kept him company while your brothers were in big school, sitting on his lap while he played Flight Simulator on the computer.

When your Dad got sick, I don’t think you knew what was happening, but with your child’s intuition, you always knew when to be quiet so he could rest. Your tiny hands even learned how to massage him when he was in pain or just wanted company.

I remember when he was very sick, you were the first of your brothers to come forward to lay your hand on your Dad’s arm to let him know you were there. And when he passed away, you came and stayed with him in the room without fear, touching his body as if to memorize as much as you could for the future. You were so fearless in your innocence.

I am writing this letter seven months to the date since your Dad died and it has been a difficult one to write because imagining my baby leaving to get married feels like a loss too. I realize that I feel this way because the wounds are still fresh, but when the times comes, I hope with all my heart that I will love Her like the daughter I never had.

I want Her to be fun, and funny. She doesn’t have to be gorgeous, but she must be beautiful inside. And above all, She must love you for who you are from the very beginning. A little change can be expected as you adjust to being married, but otherwise, She will love YOU and your flaws as much as She loves you and your best qualities.

On the other hand, I want to see you worship Her like your Dad worshipped me. Your Dad was one man who showed me that I could still be loved despite my faults. It hurts me to remember the times I did not appreciate this, and this is my one regret in life.

Max, please hold your love dear, appreciate it everyday. Make it grow with daily doses of “I love you”, a simple “thank you” after a nice meal, an enthusiastic “wow” when She makes the effort to dress up well, and a sincere “how was your day” when it looks like She’s had a bad one.

If that fails, be affectionate the way you are now and let Her feel your care through your touch. A lingering hug goes a long way.

Now, go get the ring and practice those lines we probably wrote together. Practice them like we used to practice your poems for recital in school. Now, say it again slowly… “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life loving only you… Will you marry me?”

Good job, Max. Call me after she says yes.

I love you!